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Cover US Foreign Policy

20. Gender  

Sylvia Bashevkin

This chapter examines how gender shapes US foreign policy. It first considers key perspectives that can be drawn from the work of Cynthia Enloe and other feminist writers before discussing a series of empirical questions that follow from this background; for example, when and how women entered the main institutions of American foreign policy; how female diplomats responded to discriminatory attitudes and practices; in what ways women leaders have influenced the directions of US foreign policy; and how sexual orientation politics figure in State Department actions. The chapter goes on to highlight strong resistance to efforts to integrate women’s rights and gay rights claims in the content of US foreign policy.

Chapter

Cover Human Rights: Politics and Practice

2. Feminist and Activist Approaches to Human Rights  

Ackerly Brooke

This chapter explores the theoretical and political history of human rights that emerges out of the struggles that have been waged by feminists and other non-elites. It first considers the bases for the moral legitimacy of human rights and challenges to those arguments before discussing three aspects of feminist approaches to human rights: their criticism of some aspects of the theory and practice of human rights, their rights claims, and their conceptual contributions to a theory of human rights. It then examines the ways in which feminists and other activists for marginalized groups have used human rights in their struggles and how such struggles have in turn shaped human rights theory. It also analyses theoretical and historical objections to the universality of human rights based on cultural relativism. Finally, it shows that women’s rights advocates want rights enjoyment and not merely entitlements.

Chapter

Cover Political Thinkers

23. J. S. Mill on the Subjection of Women  

Jennifer Ring

This chapter examines John Stuart Mill's treatise The Subjection of Women, a manifesto of liberal feminism that advocates ‘perfect equality’ between the sexes. Written in 1861 and published in 1869, The Subjection of Women has been criticised by contemporary feminist theorists, who find Mill's theory lacking because of its political shortcomings and contradictions. The chapter analyses the political and intellectual context in which The Subjection of Women was written as well as its significance from the standpoint of contemporary feminist theory. It considers Mill's relationship with his father, James Mill, and with his wife, Harriet Taylor, along with the emergence of the women's rights movement in the United States and England. It also assesses the political import and methodological perspective of the work and concludes with a discussion of Mill's utilitarianism.

Chapter

Cover Poverty and Development

18. Rethinking Gender Matters in Development  

Charlotte Brown and Ruth Pearson

This chapter evaluates how gender analysis can be applied to development, in both understanding the context in which it takes place and assessing development policies. The twenty-first century marked the rhetorical acceptance and embrace of gender analysis with a continued emphasis on women's rights and practical interests. However, it is important not to see efforts to meet practical gendered interests in opposition to efforts to challenge existing gender roles. A twin-track effort is necessary to meet the challenges of gendered experiences of poverty while also ensuring broader application of gender analysis addressing strategic gender interests and analysing the causes of gender inequality in order to address the uneven nature of progress towards gender equality. Recent years have highlighted a number of new areas of foci for political activism: gender inequality and abuse within organizations and across development practices; resurgence of conservative views on gender roles; and fluid gender roles.

Chapter

Cover Human Rights

Human Rights and Religion  

Roja Fazaeli and Joel Hanisek

This chapter focuses on the correlation between human rights and religion. It explains how the oversimplification of both systems' complexity resulted in the reductive classification of religion and human rights as oppositional systems. Significant ideas of human rights theories overlap with doctrinal claims in religious traditions, while human rights language occasionally features liturgical, public worship, devotional, and public structures of religious traditions. Trends such as treatment of women, toleration, and authoritative interpretation tend to raise arguments on the compatibility between some expressions of religion and international human rights norms. The chapter then covers the interdependence of human rights by referencing the Masterpiece Cakeshop case and the Sahin case.

Chapter

Cover Human Rights: Politics and Practice

10. Human Rights and Religion  

Roja Fazaeli

This chapter examines the ways in which theoretical and practical relationships between religion and human rights are constructed and understood. It begins with a historical background on the relationship between religion and human rights, focusing on religious traditions from which human rights discourses have inherited or rejected a number of ideas; one is the tradition of natural rights, which was debated throughout the Enlightenment. It then considers the formation of the international human rights system, along with contemporary concerns regarding religion and human rights such as the treatment of women, religious expression and rights claims in multicultural contexts, and the significance of religious symbols. It also discusses questions of religious authority and concludes with a review of two European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) cases that demonstrate growing edges for questions of human rights and religion: the Lautsi case and the Şahin case.

Chapter

Cover Rethinking Political Thinkers

17. Catharine Macaulay and Edmund Burke  

Alan Coffee

This chapter discusses the contrasting philosophies of Catharine Macaulay and Edmund Burke regarding the fundamental nature of political society and the approaches to take on reform. Macaulay’s philosophy revolves around the core ideal of freedom as independence from arbitrary control. Additionally, Macaulay’s work recognized that people’s beliefs are shaped by the social environment but could be manipulated by elites. On the other hand, Burke’s philosophical beliefs are organic, contextual, and pragmatic while addressing the complexity and range of social considerations and human motivations that contribute to a viable and productive state. However, Burke’s philosophy could be challenged as to whether he provides protection against possible abuse of power or not. The chapter also covers the weakness in their philosophical works while considering equal citizenship rights for women and minority social groups.